What is Bicycle Pump? Definition, Working, Types, Testing, How to Buy?


What is Bicycle Pump? Let explore with Definition, Working, Types, Testing, How to Buy, etc. Anyone who rides a bicycle knows how to pump up their tires. It is the job of bicycle pumps to ensure that tires are inflated to specifications, a simple but important task.

There are a lot of people, who already know how to pump their tires, but for those who don’t, it can be difficult to comprehend the different types of valves, the different pumps used and more importantly, what pressure should be applied. 

The result will be a comfortable, safe ride as well as long-lasting tires. The essential of having a good pump will definitely enhance the experience of riding on your bike.

Whether you have a flat tire or need to top off your tire pressure, every cyclist should prepare for this. For this reason, you’ll probably need a bike pump at home and one for your bike.

Define Bicycle Pump

Inflating the tires of a bicycle is accomplished using a bicycle pump, which is a type of positive displacement pump. A bicycle tire pump works by sucking and transferring air into the bicycle tire by moving the piston up and down. Pumps like these are designed exclusively for inflating tires.

Specifically designed for inflating bicycle tires, bicycle pumps are positive displacement air pumps. There is an adapter or connection for either the Schrader or Presta valves that are most commonly used on bicycles. It is also possible to fill tubes with the Dunlop valve using a Presta pump.

How Does Bicycle Pump Work?

Pumps like this need to be operated manually. The pump has a piston that moves upwards and downwards.

With a bicycle pump, when the piston is pushed upward via the handle, a vacuum is created inside the pump cylinder. Due to this vacuum, the air pressure inside the pump is reduced compared to the air pressure outside the pump. Pumps use suction valves to pull air from outside into cylinders because of this pressure difference.

After the internal air pressure reaches the external air pressure, the suction valve closes, which begins the compression process. The piston compresses the air as you push it down through the pump handle. 

The pump outlet valve opens when the piston increases the air pressure according to requirements, and the pump internal pressure exceeds the tire internal pressure.

Inflate the tire more by pulling the piston upward through the pump handle again. Continually adjust the bike tire pressure until it meets your requirements.

The air pressure inside the tire is indicated by a pressure gauge on some bike pumps. In order to replace the cap on the valve of the tire, you will need to remove the valve from the tire as soon as the internal pressure of the tire reaches the desired level.

Types of Bicycle Pump

Floor Pump

A freestanding pump inflates faster and with less effort than a mini pump for a variety of reasons other than just the size. This pump features a sturdy, wide base for holding it still, and a wide handle allows you to engage the plunger with both hands.

Each floor pump has a pressure gauge, regardless of its maximum pressure, placement, or size. Some are located at the bottom, while others are located at the top. Additionally, floor pumps have long, flexible hoses with chucks at the ends that can reach hard-to-reach places, some more easily than others.

Mini Pump

You can carry these compact inflators in your pocket, strap them to your frame, or carry them in your bag. As a result of their smaller size, they require less power and more effort to reach your ideal pressure or even to get you out of a jam. Some mini pumps come with a short, flexible hose that allows you to pump them at a more comfortable angle. Most mini pumps attach directly to your valve, but some come with a longer, more flexible hose.

The pressure gauge on mini pumps is usually small and hard to read, and most do not have one at all. Aside from that, before you reach the ideal pressure, you are likely to get tired pumping your arm. Due to the dual-action mechanism, dual-action mini pumps will inflate much faster since they pump air both with the plunger in and out.

Integral Pump

The valve of the integral pump is enclosed by a rubber seal attached to the side. A low dead volume, excellent rigidity, and excellent sealing result in extremely high efficiency. Tubed pumps are less efficient than integral pumps. An integral pump with an 8-inch diameter delivers air faster than a tubed pump with an 18-inch diameter. Pumps with tube valves, especially those with Presta valves, are susceptible to cutting off.

Tubed Pump

For installing the valve on this bicycle tire air pump, you’ll need a separate tube. Compared to other bicycle pumps, these pumps are relatively inexpensive. However, they are not as efficient as other pumps. There are also many joints in tube pumps through which air can leak at any time.

Frame-fit Pump

This pump is suitable for road cyclists because it snaps directly onto the frame under the top tube without requiring additional mounting hardware. Their size and weight make them heavier and longer than most mini-pumps, but they work much faster. Due to their large capacity of up to 160psi, these pumps are suitable for filling high-pressure road bike tires.

A frame-fit pump comes in different sizes depending on how big your frame is measured in cm or how long your top tube is measured in mm. Before you go shopping, be sure you know the information about your bike.

Stand Pump

It is most commonly used in cars and has multiple functions.  A wide Schrader valve is best suited to these valves. You will need to purchase a brass reducer if you want to use it with Presta valves.

A stand pump cannot deliver the same pressure as a floor pump. This type of pump works best with tires with a low air pressure, but not with tires with a high air pressure.  

Shock Pump

The shock pump exerts a great deal of pressure and is compact. Despite their small size, they are excellent for pumping or suction. Adding this pump to your arsenal is a good idea if you have a mountain bike with air suspension. You can adjust the pressure to find the right one and then fine tune it once you have found the right pressure. These devices typically have a maximum pressure of 300 psi.

Carbon dioxide Inflators

Inflate tires in a hurry with these pocket-sized inflators that use compressed carbon dioxide. It is perfect when you have a flat on the road or trail and you need to save time in an emergency situation. In spite of their convenience, single-use cartridges are quite expensive and wasteful.

Proper Guideline of buying a Bicycle Pump

Valve

Presta Valve

A metal valve that is long and thin that tapers at the top. Adding or releasing air requires unscrewing the knurled nut at the end that is threaded from tip to rim. Due to their ability to hold higher air pressures, Presta valves are typically found on road and performance bikes. Compared to a Schrader valve, this valve has a smaller diameter, making the opening in the rim smaller, which makes the wheel stronger.  

Schrader Valve

Tires for cars, mountain bikes, beach cruisers, and most kids’ bikes are examples. 

There is a wider diameter between the tip & ring on the Schrader valve as well as the same circumference between them. Rubber wraps the end, threaded it, and a pin in the center can be depressed to add or release air, under which a spring holds it in place.

At a gas station, air pump can inflate this type of valve.  

Dunlop Valve

It looks like a wider presta valve, but is less common in Asia and Europe. A city bike with this type of valve is rare in the U.S. Yet we decided to round up some pumps that can be used with this type of valve, just in case.

Pressure

It is important to know that the pressure of your tires will vary depending on various factors, including tire size, tire sidewall thickness, weight of the rider, riding conditions, and so on. Underinflated tires are best for rough roads or trails, while fully inflated tires are best for smooth conditions.

In contrast to low-pressure pumps, high-pressure pumps move a smaller volume of air with each stroke, so they are better suited to fill skinny road tires. It is generally recommended that you use a high-pressure pump if you ride tires with a pressure greater than 60 psi. The maximum pressure will be between 160 and 220 pounds per square inch.

The proper tire pressure will allow your bike to roll smoothly, avoid flats, and ride smoothly. The air pressure required by narrow tires is higher than that required by wide tires: a road tire usually delivers 80 to 130 pounds per square inch; a mountain bike tire is 25 to 35 pounds; and a hybrid tire is 40 to 70 pounds per square inch.

Volume

High-volume pumps, on the other hand, pump a large amount of air per stroke and can inflate fat tires quickly. Some, however, have difficulty inflating tires to more than 60 pounds of pressure. They are typically marked with large, easy-to-read gauges with one-psi increments making it easy to set the right tire pressure.

Gauge

The importance of an accurate gauge cannot be overstated. By maintaining accurate tire pressure, we can extend tire life, improve traction and speed, and extend tire life. Pressure gauges aren’t included in most emergency pumps since these are used to make sure you reach home, not to pump to specification.

Pump Head

Sports balls and pool floats can often be attached to pumps using adapters that work with both styles of valves. The head is designed with two individual ports: one for Presta valves and one for Schrader valves. 

Additionally, this kit contains all the parts necessary to affix a Presta or Schrader valve. Changing it from one style to another requires reversing the internals of the head, which takes a few seconds and doesn’t require tools.

With this style, Presta and Schrader valves fitted automatically without additional steps. Start pumping immediately after pressing the head to the valve.

Quality Check

There are two types of pumps: plastic and steel. Investing in cheap plastic pumps is a waste of money, as they don’t work. When it comes to floor pumps, a good solid pump lasts a long time and ensures it is easy to pump up tires.

Servicing

When pumps and pump heads wear out over time, it is important to be able to easily replace and service parts.

Using a pump to inflate a Bicycle Tire

  • To begin with, connect the pump to the valve. You can release just a little air before the valve cap is removed to ensure the valve doesn’t get stuck and opens and closes smoothly. The chuck can either be threaded on or pushed on and locked.
  • Because the valve pushes back into the rim when your tire is completely flat, it may be hard to fit the chuck at the first time.
  • You can lock the chuck properly by holding the valve from behind by pushing on the outside of the tire.
  • Presta valves have a lock-ring that helps keep the valve in place, preventing it from disappearing.
  • There should be an airtight connection in the valve. Attaching a pump may cause some air to escape, but it shouldn’t last too long. The chuck should be removed and reattached if it does. In the event that it persists, you should replace the rubber seal in the chuck.
  • When using a mini-pump without a hose, be careful not to damage the delicate valves. Avoid transferring too much-pumping force to the valve by securing the pump with your hand wrapped around the spokes or tire.
  • You use the entire stroke of the pump when you start pumping. Throughout the stroke, the air is compressed until it is pushed into the tire, where it will be compressed further.
  • You need to generate overpressure to move the air from the pump to the tire if you don’t use the whole length of the pump. You will have the shaft bobbing around, doing nothing instead.
  • You will be able to pump more efficiently with a track pump if you use your body weight for the down-stroke instead of just your arms.
  • Sometimes it is impossible to inflate a tire from a flat state, especially when the pump doesn’t seem to be holding pressure. An older pump may have slightly sticky seals, especially if it’s an older model.
  • Pump vigorously at the beginning to ensure the valves are actuated and sealed up as you keep going until you get the accurate pressure.
  • When the chuck is removed from the valve, there is usually an audible hiss of air being lost. Pumps are more likely to cause this than valves. Just a little pressure is escaping from the hose and chuck.

Fixing a Bike Pump

Put the nozzle attached to the bicycle tire valve and attach it to the air hose end. Locking the air hose nozzle on the valve is done by the lever on the end of the nozzle. Try opening and closing the lever if the nozzle isn’t attaching to the valve. In order to lock the nozzle in place tightly, force the lever in the anti-clockwise direction after it has been installed.

The pump handle should be moved upward and downward to begin pumping. You should eliminate the nozzle if you hear an air leak and your bike tire is not inflating. You should inspect the end of the nozzle. You are using the wrong hole if the nozzle has two holes at its end. Attach the nozzle to the tire again using the other hole.

Afterwards, disconnect the nozzle with the tire valve if there is still no air in the tire. You will find a small core inside the nozzle when you inspect it. This core is reversible in a few types of bike pumps. The core should be removed with your finger, rolled, and then inserted back into the nozzle. Pump the handle again after connecting the nozzle to the tire valve.  Once you’ve completed this process, check to see if the pump is functioning properly.

In order to fix the leakage, remove the nozzle from the tire valve once the tire starts to inflate. You must place the thumb on the nozzle and move the handle to create pressure in this situation. Try to identify where the leakage sound is coming from by listening carefully to the sound. There may be a leakage at the nozzle’s connection to the bicycle pump or at the nozzle’s connection to the air pipe in most cases.

Cutting the air hose at least an inch away from any holes or cracks in it is the best way to protect the air line. 

Also, attach the air hose again where it was cut, and remove the last small section of the air hose from the connection.


Replacing your pump if the tire inflator still won’t inflate is the best way to solve the problem. This occurs because your pump contains faulty internal valves that cannot be repaired.

How do you test the Bicycle Pump?

Reliability

If you get a flat tire without a pump on hand, getting a flat tire with a pump that doesn’t work is worse than nothing. Due to the possibility that a bike pump could get smashed, thrown into a backpack, or clanked around while attached to a bike. Ideally, you need one that should last more than a season or two. During day 100, each pump was tested to see if it still worked as a brand new pump.

Proper Valuation

The value of a product is always hard to judge because it’s not just about how much it costs, but how long it lasts. When buying something that lasts for years, it’s often better to spend more than less. Even though none of the featured pumps are outrageously priced, this is especially true with bike pumps.

Easy to use

Even though most bike pumps are not difficult to use, it’s still important to consider this category. When testing this, it was easy to pump air as well as attach the hose to any bike tires, whether the head attachments were difficult to install and whether sufficient air was delivered. 

Quality

In this category, the build quality of a bike pump directly affects its reliability. If you choose a quality design and build, your bike pump should work for years. 

Top 10 Bicycle Pump you should consider before buying

Crank-brothers Sapphire

There are many different types of bicycle tires, so having a pump that can adapt to your two-wheeled stable is nice. A sturdy steel pump, the Crank-brothers Sapphire fits both Presta and Shrader valves without any modifications. It will have your tires filled up in a matter of seconds. This pump comes in either black or silver paint and includes a hidden compartment for needles and inflator adaptors. This lets you check the air pressure in sports balls or pool equipment if anything else in your garage needs a little boost.  

Specailized’s Air Tool Comp

Among the pressure gauges I’ve tested, Specialized’s Air Tool Comp is one of the most accurate. When pumping, its dual-stage pressure gauge gets close enough not to require a separate pressure gauge. While the gauge is not digital, it is accurate even at low pressures, where many pumps do not register PSI. Besides providing a visual cue when I reached a certain pressure, the gauge’s oversized gauge numbers were easy to read.

Topeak Joeblow Elite

 A standard in the bicycle industry, the Topeak JoeBlow Elite is one of the most ubiquitous floor pumps on the market. A sturdy steel build provides steady pumping action, and the extra-long 4 inch hose provides ample length for reachable valves. While the integrated mini tool carrier conveniently nests any Topeak mini multi-tool for quick access. 

The pump’s handle has a large, padded grip with a gauge mounted in the center for easy viewing, giving you a constant view of how much pressure you’re adding.

Schwin’s Air Center Pro

With this budget-friendly pump, you can do it all. In addition to its modest price tag, Schwinn’s Air Center Pro offers reliable performance, additional features, and a modest price point. It can also be used to pump up basketballs, inflate kids’ bike tires, and top off e-bikes. 

Two-port Presta and Schrader heads have an indicator that lets you know when to insert and remove the pump from the valve. A clip-on plastic case stores the sports ball needle and yoga ball inflation cone that were included with the metal base. The 24-inch steel barrel held up well to daily use and abuse.

One-Up Components EDC

Mini pumps should be considered essential items to carry at all times, and their intelligent design should make the most of their portability. A heavy-duty mini pump platform that combines multiple inflation systems and a storage unit, the One-Up Components EDC pump offers more with less.

This lightweight unit, available in two volumes, accepts CO2 cartridges, and has a hollow cavity perfect for storing their multi tool or other trail essentials. To store this pump in the steered tube of your mountain bike, use the optional EDC Top Cap. 

Genuine Innovations Ultraflate Plus

When you need to fix a flat tire on the side of the road, it’s nice to know your emergency repair tool will do the job perfectly. Featuring a reinforced glass nylon body and brass internals, the Genuine Innovations Ultraflate Plus is made to be durable both inside and out. The system supports non-threaded 20g and threaded 16g, 20g, and 25g CO2 cartridges, so pretty much anything you carry around will work.  

Blackburn Mammoth Flip

There will be times out on the road or trail when you’ll need to add more air, and if you’re using an inadequate mini pump, you’ll get a workout. For riders looking for an easy-to-use floor pump that fits easily into their bag, Blackburn has developed the Mammoth Flip. While performing flat repairs in the wilderness, you’ll appreciate the two-stage pumping mode adjustments, just like at home.

Topeak Pocket Master Blaster

In any tool, it is crucial to have it handy when maintenance arises, but that doesn’t mean you have to invest a lot of money in it. It can handle high-pressure jobs up to 110 psi and provides plenty of performance at an affordable price. It has a machined aluminum barrel for light weight on the road, a padded center for taking pressure measurements, and a locking handle to ensure the pump doesn’t deploy accidentally.

Silca Tattico Bluetooth

There is no reason not to apply these same habits to your tire pressure if you are the fastidious type that measures every gram, logs every mile, and tracks calories to ensure you have a competitive edge. It’s just what the tech-savvy need to ensure that every gear-inch is turned efficiently with the Silca Tattico Bluetooth mini pump. Every time you air up, smart device receives pressure information from the iGauge application. The cool little unit is topped off with a twin-tube handle that keeps that thing from getting too hot.  

BV Bike Twin Valve

When inflating your tires, you need to hold your pump tightly in order to maximize your energy. With a comfortable grip handle and an extra-wide base, the BV Bike Twin Valve provides plenty of stability for your bike. 

You can use any type of tire valve in your garage thanks to the two-sided head and steel construction. With an index marker, it’s easy to see how much air pressure is needed, with a capacity of up to 160 psi.  

FAQs for Bicycle Pump

What is the Reason behind Tire Puncture?

Your tire may be flat for two reasons. The two reasons are either that your tire has punctured or that it has just deflated. When you have a bit more time, a more traditional kit is a more versatile option than glue less patches.
Due to the fact that tubes aren’t completely airtight, all tire systems will slowly leak air. Compared to lightweight latex tubes, standard butyl tubes hold air reasonably well. It is inevitable that air will slowly leak from tubeless setups.
It may be worth replacing old tubes if they haven’t been replaced for a while. There is also a possibility, especially on older tubes, that the valve is no longer sealing.
You should try pumping up the tire to see what’s going on. You probably don’t need to do anything else if it holds air. Your tire is likely punctured if it doesn’t.

Is Hand Pump effective or not?

Especially when you’re in a bind, they can be very effective. You need a lot more energy to inflate your tire with these, as they are designed to be carried on your bike. Because hand pumps have smaller canisters than floor pumps, they take longer to inflate tires. A mountain bike or fat bike tire is best suited for high volume, while a road bike tire is best suited for high pressure. Hand pumps are usually used only as an extra or emergency backup. They are not usually relied upon as the primary pump.

How you know when your tire needs pumping?

Before every ride, make sure your tires are in good condition. To check the pressure, you usually just squeeze them by hand. You won’t get a perfect reading with it, but you’ll soon be able to determine if you need to pump up your tires.
Getting really nerdy might lead you to invest in a pressure gauge, which can very accurately measure the pressure in your tires.
You can do the same on a road bike so you can find what the best pressure for your riding is. It’s particularly helpful for mountain bikes, since a few psi can make a significant difference in handling and grip.

Our Videos

Refer YouTube

Our Apps

Check out our ‘MechStudies – The Learning App’ in iOS & Android

Check out our most viewed articles,

What is thermodynamics

Intensitve & Extensive Properties

What is Pressure

Bernoulli’s theorem

Venturi meter

Pump basics

Globe valve

Siphon

Reference Articles

MechStudies

Hello Everyone! We are the MechStudies team and really delighted to present our articles. We will capture all types of Mechanical Engineering articles in the simplest way with various diagrams, practical examples, etc. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

You cannot copy content of this page